125 g (4 oz) pitted dates, chopped
125 ml (4 fl oz) boiling water
4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
4 tablespoons golden syrup
50 g (2 oz) sunflower margarine, plus extra for greasing
50 g (2 oz) light muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100 g (3½ oz) self-raising flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
2 small scoops of low-fat vanilla ice cream


1.Preheat the slow cooker if necessary. Place the chopped dates, measurement boiling water and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl, stir and leave to soak for 10 minutes.
2.Meanwhile, lightly grease 4 metal pudding basins, each 200 ml (7 fl oz), and base-line with circles of nonstick baking paper. Divide the golden syrup between the basins.
3.Place the margarine, sugar, flour, egg, vanilla and ginger in a food processor and blend until smooth
4. Drain the dates, add to the processor and blend briefly to mix. Divide the mixture between the pudding basins, cover the tops with greased foil and put in the slow cooker pot.
5.Pour boiling water into the slow cooker pot to come halfway up the sides of the basins, cover and cook on high for 4 hours until the sponge is well risen and springs back when pressed with a fingertip.
6.Lift the basins out of the pot using a tea towel. Remove the foil, loosen the edges of the puddings with a knife and turn out into shallow bowls. Peel away the lining paper and serve immediately with the ice cream.
7.FOR GINGERED BANANA PUDDINGS, omit the dates, boiling water and bicarbonate of soda.
8.Follow the recipe above, adding 1 ripe banana to the food processor with the remaining ingredients. Blend and continue as above.

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